Tips for choosing a doctor

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Pertinent
questions when choosing a doctor

Will the doctor treat all family members?

Is the doctor nearby and easy to access?

Does the doctor have office hours that are convenient for your family, especially for those who work or attend school?

Is the doctor covered by your insurance plan?

Does the doctor have staff privileges at a nearby accredited hospital?

Does the doctor encourage preventive medicine, such as routine checkups, immunizations and follow-up tests?

Where are routine X-rays and laboratory studies performed? Can these be done in-office, or will you have to go to an outside laboratory?

If the doctor works in a group, are you comfortable with being seen by one of the practice partners?

Who should you call if you have a problem after hours?

Provided by Porter Regional Hospital

Your head is throbbing, your throat is burning and the thermometer is showing triple digits. Time to call a doctor, right?

Yet for 60 million Americans, seeing “the doctor” is complicated by the fact that they don’t have one, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. And for many, that’s all it takes. So if and when they need one, they don’t go at all.

Yet, according to the study, the even bigger downside of not having a family physician is that a person is more likely not to get the appropriate medical tests and exams that may save and lengthen their life.

So to help, Porter would like to provide you with some basic guidelines to assist you in making informed decisions when choosing a physician and getting the medical care you need.

What kind of doctor do I need?

Many families want a doctor who can treat the entire family and become familiar with the family as a group, typically a family medicine or internal medicine physician.

Family medicine physicians complete a two-year residency in family medicine, which includes intensive training in general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and pediatrics, among other fields. They are qualified to handle most aspects of medical care, such as uncomplicated pregnancies, immunizations, and routine physicals, as well as diagnosing and treating most illness. A family medicine physician can also guide you to the right specialist, when needed, and help coordinate this specialized care.

Internal medicine physicians (also called “internists”) have three or more years of intensive training in how to diagnose and treat non-surgical medical problems in teens and adults through old age. They can treat many problems, simple or complex; in fact, other doctors often refer their patients to internists to solve puzzling medical problems. Internists are also very good at treating multiple medical problems that may come up at the same time and are often tied together.

How to find the right doctor?

Porter Health System offers an easy-to-use physician referral service, which allows you to select a doctor based on your criteria. You may search based on specialty, city, gender or name. To begin, simply visit porterhealth.com and click on “Find a Physician” or call 1-800-541-1861.

Provided by Porter Regional Hospital